Archives

QandA

Chosen, or Hey I’m Doing a TV Show!

Josh Friedman and I just set up a new show called Chosen, produced by 20th Television for ABC. I’ll write the pilot, and if the show goes to series, Josh will run it.

Producers and pitching

What’s the difference between a reader and a producer? Much more than one high-profile online reader seems to believe. John and Craig discuss what producers do, and how one plausibly gets started.

Eight Reasonable Questions about Screenwriting

John and Craig tackle eight questions on the profession of screenwriting, ranging from studio execs to sharing credit to pitching via video.

Action is more than just gunfights and car chases

John and Craig are all action this week, looking at how screenwriters write those things characters do in a movie.

Grammar, guns and butter

Craig and John celebrate one year of the podcast by going H.A.M. on the passive voice, the present progressive and reductive nonsense rules.

Dashes, ellipses and underground monsters

John and Craig answer four listener questions, on topics ranging from scene headers to ticket sales. And which is better for an aspiring screenwriter: a low-level job at a major agency, or a steady 9-to-5 job that allows time to write?

Selling a script, but holding on to the characters

Can you sell a spec screenplay but retain the characters for other uses?

Death and advertising

In his will, Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch left instructions that “in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.” Wendy S. Goff looks at why that opens a legal can of worms.

Lego story rules

Emma Coats’s list of 22 story rules moves from useful to delightful when illustrated with Lego.

Losing sleep over critics

John and Craig talk critics, and how trying to anticipate their reviews can cause paralysis. It’s funny how the screenwriter only seems to get mentioned in negative reviews. Well, not funny, actually. Frustrating. And possibly statistically verifiable, so listen in if you’re looking for a research project.

Women, screenwriting and confidence

A listener wonders if the lack of female screenwriters stems in part from the social part of the profession, specifically confidence in one’s ability.

Better yet, don’t write anything at all

I quite like Colson Whitehead’s tongue-and-cheek writing advice.

How the summer movie season expanded

Dustin Rowles looks at how studios learned to look beyond the summer release schedule.

Writing better bad guys

Chuck Wendig has 25 things you should know about antagonists.

What script should you write?

Craig and John tackle a question screenwriters ask themselves at every stage in their careers: of all things I could write, which thing should I write?

Mistakes development executives make

Craig and John skip Comic-Con so they can discuss annoying and unproductive habits of development executives, along with advice for working with screenwriters.

Getting less for your 10%

Gavin Palone looks at why why so many more writers (and directors and actors) in Hollywood are paying the extra money for a manager.

Writing big movies for little screens

Stephen Harrigan reflects on his career writing TV movies of the week.

In which Stuart reads the Save the Cat! books and tells you what he thought

I don’t read books on how to write screenplays, but Stuart does, so I occasionally ask him to write up his impressions. For this round, he tackled the three Save the Cat! books by Blake Snyder.

Setting, perspective and terrible numbers

It’s two parts craft and one part business as Craig and John discuss the alarming earnings report coming out of the WGA, plus a deeper look at setting and POV.

Standing up for ticket-takers

Employees are suing AMC Theaters, arguing that they should be allowed to sit down.

Endings for beginners

John and Craig look at how to write satisfying third acts. That doesn’t necessarily mean a happy ending, but rather one that feels earned.

Pen Names and Divine Intervention

This week, John is a bit under the weather, so Craig takes over moderator duties as they tackle four listener questions.

Verbs are what’s happening

This week’s episode finds Craig and John answering questions about agent etiquette, business cards and those troubling rewrites that unravel everything.

Amazon Studios and the free option

Chip Street looks at why an offer to be featured on the “consider” list must be considered carefully.